Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools: Redistricting maps drawn for 2021-22, 2022-23

Paul Comstock
ThisWeek
The Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools boundaries map for the 2021-22 school year is part of phase 1 of the redistricting process.

The Gahanna-Jefferson Public School District was scheduled to start distributing information to the public April 8 on its new redistricting plan.

Details of the plan were reviewed at length during the district’s school board's meeting April 7.

Jill Elliott, the district coordinator of assessment and accountability, said the district website, gahannaschools.org, would have a link to a school locator, maps and other details about the redistricting plan.

Starting April 12, she said, the process of communicating directly with affected families should be underway.

The plan will involve two phases, the first taking effect for the 2021-22 school year and the second for the 2022-23 school year.

Elliott said the district will tell those families "which phase they'll be impacted in and what elementary and middle school boundary their home address aligns to."

"We will work with families to do the best we can to make the transition we are going to make as easy and thoughtful and caring as we possibly can," Superintendent Steve Barrett said.

The Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools boundaries map for the 2022-23 school year is part of phase 2 of the redistricting process.

The redistricting is needed to accommodate future growth, he said.

"As you know, we're growing in Gahanna at an accelerating rate," he said.

The redistricting "will allow us to increase capacity and add learning space to accommodate this growth," he said.

A chief objective of redistricting, he said, is to avoid crowding in individual buildings.

A 13-member committee has worked on the redistricting plan since December, Barrett said.

The committee held seven sessions, plus two sessions to collect public input, he said, and worked to visit and revisit all elements of the plan that should serve the district for the next decade.

Redistricting always is difficult, he said.

"We know this process is not easy,” Barrett said. “We know some will be unhappy."

Scott Leopold of Hilliard-based consultants Cooperative Strategies advised the district during the planning process.

He described elements of the plan to the school board April 7 and said the committee had reviewed five options and developed one of the options with the most public support and least opposition.

 "Since we live in a world where we can put all the student data in a computer, we can have it run models for us,” he said. “What we did is, I plugged everything in with the school locations and I said, 'Draw boundaries so that every student goes to his or her closest school.'"

The final plan meets that goal as much as is practical, he said, considering the other guiding principles of redistricting.

Those principles include balancing enrollment at Chapelfield, Goshen Lane, Jefferson and Royal Manor elementary schools, using new capacity at the planned Lincoln Elementary School and distributing future growth equally between middle schools East and South, as opposed to East absorbing most new enrollment, which it does now, he said.

Those goals are part of the plan's first phase, he said.

Goals of the second phase include providing additional enrollment relief at Goshen Lane and Jefferson elementary schools, he said.

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